Led by CEO Melanie Bender, in under a year after launch, Hailey Bieber’s Rhode has already started up the path of a global expansion, moving north to Canada and the UK.
The glazed doughnut skin made popular by Hailey Bieber has a featured collection in Rhode. Beginning with just three products under its hood, the brand witnessed a quick escalation in popularity, partially due to its appreciation amongst the GenZ and due to “skinimalism”. The brand’s focus on the minimum required products for daily basics meant to support the skin barrier is their motto. The packaging as well as the materials used in the products, simplify daily skincare routines.
Rhode began with its most popular product now, the peptide glazing fluid, priced at $29, which upon release watched a 100,000-strong waiting list. If that is not enough to show the popularity of this brand, the waitlist of over one million across its products in today’s market is proof enough. Melanie Bender adds that she had never seen an eight-figure sales threshold cross in 11 days!
Seeing this kind of reach in the most potent market sector – the “GenZ”, Melanie expects a similar if not more response when they launch B-C, Business-to-Customer, in Canada in March and in the UK in the following summer. The inspiration to go beyond the borders arose from looking at the site traffic, which was majorly international, even though the marketing did not aim at them.
With the introduction of numerous celebrity-led beauty brands, such as Scarlett Johansson’s The Outset and Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics among many others, Rhode was able to do especially note-worthy business right from the start because it offers something that other brands fail at, a strong voice.
One of the prime aspects of Rhode, which the CEO Bender deeply admires is their zeal to support women. The initiation of the Rhode Futures Foundation, a charitable arm of the brand, aims to break barriers that women face and support their future goals.
Melanie explains that it is not always easy to set aside funds in the beginning for such purposes, but requires focus on how and where the brand partners, how it sets its goals, and what different communities to target. But what Rhode needs to focus now is on a lasting impression and space in the beauty and skincare segment, away from Hailey’s influence, which may or may not last and does not circle different controversies.
Hailey Bieber’s attachment to the brand bought the mass market to Rhode, with spikes in sales seen when the model made to Forbes 30 Under 30 list in December 2022. The second peak of sales was when Jeffree Star posted a TikTok heavily critiquing the brand, the packaging, and the general appeal, purely driven by his support for Selena Gomez.
Having such a big name attached directly to Rhode may get some dirt on the brand though according to Melanie, the positive impact of Hailey on women aged between 15-35 has surpassed any such concerns. She goes on to say that the success of Rhode is actually around the authenticity offered by the brand and the model’s view of sharing her secrets and beauty standards with the majority.
The Future of the Brand
When we talk about brands led by celebrities, most lack a clear value proposition and a point of differentiation from similar brands. Olivia Tong, managing director of equity research at Raymond James, an investment firm, says that it may be easy for a celebrity to turn her fans into income. She urges the brands to focus on details like how to differ from their contemporaries and how they can provide something new and approachable that drives repeat purchases.
Coming up with their star ingredient – peptides, Rhode has offered something new. They constantly work with leading scientists to build reliability and are driven by their prime motto Bieber’s “one of everything really good!” The brand aims to launch its first color product this year, aligned with Hailey’s aesthetics.
Upcoming brand events include a dinner for individuals and influencers passionate about skincare and press in Canada, succeeding a face-to-face launch in the US in June. On Hailey Bieber’s birthday, Rhode is set to launch the vanilla birthday cake-flavored lip treatment and kickstart the influencer program to get individuals who share the same vision as it, to share veritable love alike.
Having Estée Lauder as an inspiration, Rhode wants to build on a “generational brand”, much like Bobbi Brown, focusing on what the brand represents and what the people look for in it. It also wants to create a connection and accessibility between the user and Hailey, which prompts an open and ever-evolving community.